Two Koreas open first liaison office since World War II

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 14, 2018

The office is the first of its kind since the Koreas were divided at the end of World War II in 1945.

The opening of the liaison office is a sign that even if talks between the North and the USA are not moving forward, the two Koreas seem determined to develop closer ties, says BBC Seoul correspondent Laura Bicker.

"We'll sit face to face, exchange our thoughts fast and accurately and put our heads together to resolve hard matters", said South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon in an opening ceremony, adding that the office will become the "cradle of Korean co-prosperity".

"We'll sit face to face, exchange our thoughts fast and accurately and put our heads together to resolve hard matters", he said in remarks distributed by his office.

The liaison office is in Kaesong, where South Korean firms once employed tens of thousands North Korean workers in a jointly run industrial park that symbolised peaceful engagement.

"The two sides are now able to take a large step toward peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean peninsula by quickly and frankly discussing issues arising from inter-Korean relations", said Ri Son Gwon, the head of North Korea's delegation at the opening ceremony.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex in 2013

The office will be co-headed by Vice South Korean Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung and a deputy head of Ri's committee.

South Korea suspended operations at the complex in 2016 after North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test.

The Justice Department announced charges last week against Park Jin Hyok, accusing him of hacking on behalf of the North Korea military, and of being involved in an attempt to steal $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank in 2016, as well as in the spread of the WannaCry 2.0 virus that affected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries a year ago.

South Korea has said it hopes the liaison office will help in those efforts.

"The U.S. should seriously ponder over the negative consequences of circulating falsehoods and inciting antagonism against the DPRK that may affect the implementation of the Joint Statement adopted at the DPRK-U.S.", the statement read, referring to an agreement reached between President TrumpDonald John TrumpSouth Carolina detention centers say it will not relocate inmates in mandatory evacuation zones Letitia James routs three Dems to win New York AG primary Trump slams Kerry for "illegal" meetings with Iran MORE and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year. He's also dismantled his nuclear and rocket-engine testing sites. It is a potential first step toward the eventual establishment of diplomatic relations between the two Koreas, whose 1950-53 war ended in an armistice but not a formal peace treaty.

North and South Korea opened a joint liaison office in the Northern city of Kaesong on Friday (Sep 14) as they knit closer ties ahead of President Moon Jae-in's visit to Pyongyang next week.

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